The corruption trial against Virginia ex-Gov. Bob McDonnell (R) and his wife veered into soap opera territory Thursday when the governor read aloud parts of an emotional note he wrote to his the first lady in September 2011, when their marriage had sunk to a low point.
Here’s some of the text of that note, via the Washington Post:
“I love you. Yesterday was one on (sic) the lowest points in my life. We have had a very hard year emotionally, despite a wonderful anniversary celebration. You are my soulmate. I love being married to you and having a family. We have shared much good life together (sic). I have made plenty of mistakes in my life which I wish I could fix. I am sorry for all the times I have not been there for you and have done things to hurt you. I know I am a sinner and keep trying to do better. But I am completely at a loss as to how to handle the fiery anger and hate from you that has become more and more frequent. You told me again yesterday that you would wreck my things and how bad I am. It hurt me to my core. I have asked and prayed to God so many times to take this anger away and heal whatever is causing it … some going back years and years. He has not yet answered those prayers.”
“I admit that I do keep away from you sometimes…”
“I want to be in love, not just watch movies about it.”
“You tell me all the time how bad your life has been with me and how unhappy you are. I do not understand this. I am so spiritually and mentally exhausted from being yelled at.”
The governor spent much of his Thursday testimony presenting his marriage as strained, largely because of his wife’s troubles adjusting to her role as first lady and getting along with Executive Mansion staff.
Defense lawyers also circled back to a theory they had presented in opening statements: that Maureen McDonnell had a crush on Jonnie Williams, the wealthy businessman the couple allegedly accepted gifts and loans from in exchange for using the power of the governor’s office to promote his dietary supplements company. They’d argued that the first lady turned to Williams for attention when her marriage was faltering.
McDonnell testified that while he didn’t believe his wife and Williams had a physical affair, he believes his wife did have a strong emotional attachment to the businessman, according to the Post.
Catherine Thompson is a senior editor for Talking Points Memo in New York City. She came to the site in 2013 and reported on national affairs. Previously, she worked as a research assistant to investigative reporter Wayne Barrett. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.